2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is eco-friendly and powerful Featured

Posted On Sunday, 03 October 2021 02:32 Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime can go 42 miles in electric only range The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime can go 42 miles in electric only range Photo courtesy of Toyota

Since launching the hybrid craze years ago with the Prius, Toyota has been a leader in eco-friendly vehicles. Hence their recent emphasis on plug-in hybrids, the next step toward the inevitable arrival of electric-only vehicles for the masses.

One such offering in this vein that I recently got to test is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid version of their wildly popular RAV4 SUV. With an electric range of 42 miles, and strong fuel economy when in hybrid mode, it’s definitely one of the plug-in offerings getting a lot of attention in this changing automotive landscape.

I recently spent some time in the RAV4 Prime, which serves a good landing point for people who want to move beyond standard hybrids but are not yet comfortable with electric-only options.


The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime features strong designs on both its exterior and interior.

The exterior of my test vehicle was an attractive Supersonic Red color that looked sharp, and you couldn’t miss the vehicle in a parking lot, with its two-toned look of the red vehicle and a black panoramic glass roof with power moonroof.

The vehicle features LED projector headlights, vertical LED accent lights, 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheels and a power liftgate. Mudguard and roof rack cross bars are optional extras.

You’ll enjoy high-quality interior materials on seating and other surfaces inside the vehicle, which is also extremely roomy in both rows and the trunk. Everyone will be comfortable and cargo will fit without any issues.

Comfort features include: SofTex-trimmed seats with sporty red accents and stitching; Heated and ventilated perforated front seats; and power adjustable front seats.

RAV4 Prime features dual-zone automatic A/C w/ rear vents, Smart Key system with push-button start, a steering wheel with paddle shifters, and wireless smartphone charging.

A weather package will get you a heated, leather-trimmed steering wheel, plus rain-sensing variable intermittent windshield wipers with de-icer function.


The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime features a 2.5-liter, 4 cylinder engine, paired with two electric motors, as part of a plug-in hybrid engine system with EV and HV modes. All in all, you end up with 302 total net horsepower.

The vehicle also features an electronic CVT transmission, as well as electronic on-demand AWD, and an 18.1-kWh battery pack.

Once the pure electric driving capability has been reduced, hybrid mode is authorized and both gas and electric motors will be used as needed. Sport, Normal and Eco driving modes are available, and the RAV4 Prime can tow 2,500 pounds.

What you’ll instantly notice about the RAV4 Prime is that this green machine can fly. Starting from a stopped position is quite impressive, Its 0-to-60 time came in at roughly 5.5 seconds, and the RAV4 Prime offers the most horsepower you’ll get from any Toyota outside of the Supra and some larger vehicles like the Land Cruiser, Sequoia and Tundra.

Handling is decent, too, but it’s the power that will draw you in.


The RAV4 Prime features a respectable infotainment system with a 9-inch touchscreen, but the design looks a bit dated compared to its rivals. But more importantly, the controls are easy to use and voice commands also work very well on the first attempt. 

Bluetooth allows for streaming music and calls, you get 5 USB ports, and a 3-month trial of SiriusXM radio. RAV4 Prime is also Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatible.

The vehicle comes with Dynamic Navigation with a 3-year trial, and a sound system featuring 11 JBL speakers including subwoofer and amplifier. In-vehicle Wi-Fi is also offered.

The RAV4 Prime features top-notch government safety ratings, and the usual bevy of safety features from Toyota. 

This includes the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 package, featuring: Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, automatic high beams, and road sign assist.

The RAV4 Prime also includes 8 airbags; a backup camera with dynamic gridlines, LATCH system for car seats, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and more.

Upgrading to the Premium Package ($3,765) will get you a lot of features, including:
10-inch color head-up display (HUD) with speedometer; Bird’s Eye View Camera; Overhead 360 Degree View; foot-activated power liftgate; Front and rear parking assist with automated braking, and more.


The official fuel mileage numbers on the RAV4 Prime are 38 mpg combined (40 city, 36 highway). My numbers in real-world testing were actually higher, at 42.5 mpg.

Combined, the overall RAV4 Prime experience delivers an extremely solid 94 MPGe rating between electricity and gasoline.

The vehicle allows for 42 electric only miles, meaning many people will be able to commute to and from work without ever using a drop of gas. Total driving range is near 600 miles for a tank, so if you play your cards right you’ll rarely have to set food on gas station property, barring something like a road trip that necessitates regular fillups (and even that could be addressed with the proper infrastructure on our roadways for electric vehicle charging).

Speaking of charging, the RAV4 Prime's battery can be charged at your home in about 12 hours by plugging the included charging cable into a standard household outlet. If using a public charging station (240V), the RAV4 Prime can reach full charge in roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes.


The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime that I tested was priced just under $50,000; and the base price starts about $41K.

Keep in mind that plug-in hybrids are eligible for federal tax credits as high as $7,500, and some states even add additional credits on top of that, so you can significantly drop the price of the RAV4 Prime. Add in the amount of annual savings you will get from fewer trips to the gas station, and the price sounds even more reasonable.

Still, those who don’t want to take the Prime plunge but still want a fuel-efficient RAV4 can choose the more affordable hybrid option that does not include plug-in capability.


While the higher up-front price tag may scare away some potential buyers, the RAV4 Prime slots in as one of the most cost-effective plug-in hybrids available in 2021, and is worth considering for those who want to explore this type of vehicle.


AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid
  • Price as tested: $49,776 (starts around $41K; tax incentives are available)
  • Best feature: Strong fuel economy, decent electric range
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Toyota fans who want something between a standard hybrid and a full electric ride
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

Search Reviews by Make

AutoTechReviews  is your home for In-depth reviews of the latest cars, trucks, and SUVs; information on all the emerging vehicle technology; and breaking news from the world of NASCAR and other motorsports.